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Eclairs… (Kind of)

Close up of Eclairs

Sometimes I think it will be fun to try something new that might be really hard. My mom is always experimenting when she sews, paints, or gardens. When I saw this recipe for Eclairs, she told me it might be a bit difficult to pull off, but I knew my Dad liked these desserts and I thought it would be a fun experiment.

Adding Ingredients to Eclair

We had to find some open time for this one, as I didn’t want to be rushed. We started with the Pate a Choux, which I do not even know how to say! (My Dad said, ‘God bless you’ after I tried, I guess I sounded like a sneeze!) Of course, it didn’t sound too difficult when reading the directions, so I went for it.

Melting Butter in pan

Eclairs are Proving to be Hard!

It started well, by boiling down the milk and butter. When I added the flour, I had some difficulty getting it to be smooth. It looked pretty clumpy and I was already getting worried.

Clumpy Pastry in Pan

After I brought it off the heat, the directions said to mix the eggs one at a time. I thought it was too difficult to by hand, so I brought out the hand mixer and used that until the dough was stretchy. The recipe calls for 8 to 10 eggs, but I only used 8. (“Only” is a pretty funny word to use when saying EIGHT eggs.)

Mixing Eclairs
Electric Mixer with Eclair dough

On a side note, in our family, we have a tradition of making designs in the egg carton. My mom says it is because we have Danish blood in us, but every time we use an egg we have to leave a new design. You never know what you are going to find when you reach for an egg!

Egg Carton Design

Cheating the Pastry Bag

My mom thought using a pastry bag and trying to pipe the dough into Eclair shapes was a bit unnecessary. So we used two tablespoons and tried to pull them into a longer oval shape. Boy, was this sticky and messy! I thought these would all fit into one pan, but I needed to put a few on a second one. When I went to put them in the oven, that is when I realized they both didn’t fit on the top rack with the water pans on the lower rack. (Our bigger baking dish was already in use with the leftover Mac-n-Cheese in the refrigerator so we filled two bread pans instead.)

Placing Eclairs on baking sheet

Instead of being patient and cooking one at a time, I shoved them in there, hoping that a little tilt on the one side wouldn’t be a problem for the final shape of the Eclair.

Cooking Eclairs

Burning the Eclairs

The directions say to bake for 15 to 20 minutes before opening the door and letting them continue. But after about 10 minutes, I could smell a bit of a burning. I opened the oven door, and that is when the real worrying began. They were almost burned on the top! I pulled them both out but could tell they were not quite cooked all the way through. On top of that, they looked completely flat.

Burned Eclairs

I think there were a few problems, but one of them was the fact that the top rack was as high as it could go because we had to fit a tall pan on the bottom one when we last cooked. I think they were too close to the heat in the oven.

Although it was 90 degrees outside, we did crack the oven door and let them continue cooking as we lowered the heat a bit. But not much was going to help with this as they were already pretty dark. What can you do but shrug your shoulders and hope they taste good anyway?

Skipping the Pastry Cream

I set them on racks and began thinking about the pastry cream. That is when I counted my eggs. Uhhh. Not enough. TWELVE egg yolks? It was so hot in the kitchen from the dough cooking, I thought I might melt. It was time to take a break from cooking. We decided to make the chocolate Ganache later in the day and skip the pastry cream this time. There was not enough of a rise to cut them in half anyway.

Stirring chocolate ganache

The recipe in this book calls for corn syrup, which we try to avoid at all costs. So we looked up a quick recipe online and found this very simple version from Baked by an Introvert. I decided to use the ratio for the pourable glaze. This was very simple to make and the chocolate was so rich and delicious.

Pouring Milk over chocolate

The problem now was that the failed pastries were cold because we put them in the refrigerator all afternoon. My mom really didn’t want to put the oven back on to warm them, so she brought out the toaster and popped the Eclairs in! Probably not a very professional way of warming up pastries, but it worked! We poured on the chocolate and for a failed experiment, they didn’t look too bad!

Eclairs in Toaster

The pastry was definitely a bit dense and not at all light and fluffy like it was supposed to be in a real Eclair. However, the taste was actually pretty good. We ate them up without a problem.

Final Eclair with Ganache
Eclairs... (Kind of)

Eclairs... (Kind of)

Yield: 18
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Still Tasted Good!


  • 1 Cup of Butter
  • 1/2 Cup of Water
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 2 Cups plus 2 tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 8 to 10 Eggs


    Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Fill a deep roasting pan with boiling water and place at the bottom of the oven. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment.
    In a medium saucepan, combine butter, water, and milk; cook over medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat and sift in flour and salt. Cook for 4 minutes more, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Transfer to a large bowl.
    Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. After the eighth egg is stirred in, check the consistency of dough. If it is sticky and stretchy when you lift the spoon high in the air, stop adding eggs. If it breaks, add eggs and stir until stretchy and well mixed.
    Use a pastry bag to pipe into Eclair shapes or place heaping tablespoons of dough on baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for 15- to 20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Rotate baking sheets, reduce temperature to 350 degrees F, and prop oven door open slightly. Bake for 12 - 20 minutes more or until dry to the touch and light in weight. Cool on baking sheets on wire racks.


Adapted from Semi-Homemade Desserts 2 by Sandra Lee

Did you experiment with this recipe?

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Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Ganache

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

For pourable glaze and frosting


  • 4 ounces (113 g) Semisweet Chocolate, Finely Chopped
  • 4 ounces (113 g) Heavy Cream


    Place the chopped chocolate in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
    Warm cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until it's steaming. It doesn't need to simmer or boil.
    Pour the warm cream over the chocolate and make sure the chocolate is fully submerged.
    Let it sit for about 3 minutes then stir gently until it comes together in a smooth, creamy consistency.
    Use it while it's warm and pourable. If you need a drip glaze, allow it to cool until slightly. The longer it cools, the thicker it becomes.


Did you experiment with this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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